Year of the Rabbit Craft – Paper Puppet

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Our Year of the Rabbit activities fun continues! With Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year celebrating the Year of the Rabbit in 2023! Today, we have adapted our oh so popular paper bunny puppet and turned it into a Year of the Rabbit Paper Puppet craft – with lovely lantern and lily accessories!

Year of the Rabbit Craft
Great Lunar New Year classroom activity explore basic STEAM and mechanics.

Move over, Year of the Tiger, make way for some Rabbits! Let’s have a fun Rabbit year!! Make an articulated paper rabbit puppet for Lunar New Year and the Year of the Rabbit. A fun craft project that is also explores the basics of mechanics, making this a great STEAM activity for the New Year celebrations!

This is a wonderful activity to explore Chinese culture as well as the Chinese Zodiac animals!

TIP: you can leave out the string/ mechanics element and only use brads, if working with younger children or large groups as supervision is needed when “sewing” the string into the paper puppet.

Lesson plan objectives for this Year of the Rabbit Craft

  • Improve coloring and paper cutting skills
  • Practice basic sewing skills (including knot making)
  • Explore the mechanics of moving parts
  • Cultural activity/ seasonal fun

When is Chinese New Year 2023 and the Year of the Rabbit?

Taking a look at the Chinese calendar, here are some detailed history Year of the Rabbit Dates and recent Years of the Rabbit!

  • 19th February 1939 – 7th February 1940
  • 6th February 1951 – 26th January 1952
  • 25th January 1963 – 12th February 1964
  • 11th February 1975 – 30rd January 1976
  • 29th January 1987 – 16th February 1988
  • 16th February 1999 – 4th February 2000
  • 3rd February 2011 – 22nd January 2012

Key upcoming dates for the year of the rabbit are – 2023 – 2035! So the next year of the rabbit is:

… is in 2023. Starting on the 22nd January 2023 and lasts right through to 9th February 2024. The upcoming year of the rabbit is the year of the water rabbit! We last had the Year of the Rabbit in 2011 was the Gold Rabbit.

The year of the rabbit rotates through:

  • Gold rabbit
  • Water rabbit
  • Wood rabbit
  • Fire rabbit
  • Earth rabbit

Apparently my birth year rabbit is the Wood Rabbit! I will let you work out what year I was born! Teehee!

Rabbit Characteristics

Rabbit people tend to be outgoing and kind! They are often consider having good luck, but that is also often as a result of being hard working. They have a tendency to be chatty too and like being around people.

More Year of the Rabbit Activities:

Looking for fun activities? We have a number of great Year of the Rabbit Activities that you may want to check out. All of these make great classroom activities, celebrating Chinese New Year in a fun, but also (hidden) educational way!

I hope you will agree that these are grat activities for kids of all ages. From toddlers and preschoolers, right up to older kiddos and maybe even teenagers (actually, I LOVED making pop up cards as a teen!). Anything to release that creativity and have much fun!

Supplies needed to make your articulated puppet

rabbit craft supplies
  • White cardstock for the printer (or white paper if using a laminator)
  • Large eyed pointy needle (to be used under supervision)
  • Brads/ Split pins
  • Baker’s twine, yarn or light string
  • Scissors
  • Coloring pens or markers

For this puppet, you will need our printable in my Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s store (if you prefer, I have gumroad too ) .. the proceeds of the sale go towards the upkeep of this website! However, you can give drawing your own rabbit puppet a go – let me printable (see images) guide you as to where to place the hole punch for the brads/ split pins and where to sew the baker’s twine for the puppet mechanism!

year of the rabbit

Check out China Highlights for this list of lucky and and unlucky elements for Year of the Rabbit individuals! Use this as a guide as to what colours to make your origami rabbits in! Be sure to avoid unlucky things such as a dark brown or white bunny craft!

How to make a Rabbit Paper Puppet – Year of the Rabbit Craft for Kids

coloring in the rabbit in auspicious colors
A fun activity for Chinese Year of the Rabbit!

Print your rabbit puppet onto light cardstock.

Color in your rabbit in desired colors. Take note of the “lucky” and “unlucky” color guide on the printable.

cut out your moving rabbit parts

Carefully cut out all your shapes.

hole punch for brads

Take your hole punch, and looking at the bottom of the hole punch, line up he markings to make punch the holes for the brads.

add the brads or split pins
glue on the rabbit accessories for lunar new year

Placing the arms and legs behind your rabbit puppet, add the split pins.

Glue your remaining Year of the Rabbit decorations in place – you can use the lucky lily as a hair piece of you wish and add either one or two paper lanterns. If you wish you can create your own extras – e.g. maybe you would like to make a paper fan?

You can leave the puppet as is (great for younger children or larger groups) or move on to the next step and add a string mechanism to make the rabbit move.

add the string mechanics to the puppet

Point arms and legs DOWN.

Thread your baker’s twine or yarn onto a needle. Knot one end. Push it from the back of the arm through the dot and pull the yarn through. Bring it over to the second arm and this time push the needle through from front to back. Remember to make sure that the arms point down and knot of to create a straight line from left to right. Repeat for the legs.

With the arms and legs pointing down and creating two parallel lines, now connect the top piece of yarn with the bottom in a straight line. Create a “capital I” shape.

make the puppet dance!

Your rabbit puppet is now ready to dance!!! Woohoo!

You may also like these Lunar New Year Crafts here:

Great Chinese New Year's Ideas for Kids
The FREE Dragon Puppet and Dragon Twirlers are particularly popular every year!

You can grab the FREE Dragon Puppet Printable and FREE Dragon Twirlers today!

More ways to explre the Zodiac Animals here:

Exploring Chinese New Year with Animal Crafts for the Chinese Zodiac
Exploring the Chinese Zodiac is fun and easy!